Policy report

A policy maker's guide to smart manufacturing

1 Nov 2016

Smart manufacturing—the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to every facet of modern manufacturing processes—is in the midst of transforming the global manufacturing economy. The digitalization of manufacturing will transform how products are designed, fabricated, used, operated, and serviced post-sale, as much as it will transform the operations, processes, and energy footprint of factories and the management of manufacturing supply chains. It will also change the global landscape of manufacturing competition, potentially reducing the relative advantage of low-cost regions. The countries—and enterprises and industries therein—that lead in embracing smart-manufacturing techniques will gain first-mover advantage over global competitors. Public policy will play a pivotal role in setting the competitive landscape affecting smart manufacturing leadership, impacting everything from how quickly countries’ enterprises will be able to research, develop, adopt, and diffuse these technologies to how ready their workforces and supply chains will be to leverage them.

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